Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Repairs
While masonry chimneys are formidable, durable structures, they are constructed with porous materials. As a result, it is vulnerable to moisture like rain, snow, and ice. So, the timeless expression “when it rains, it pours” couldn’t be more accurate for masonry chimneys. Chimney leaks can be very destructive once water gets into the masonry through a damaged chimney cap, a small masonry crack, or another issue. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about masonry chimney repairs.
Chimney Cap Damage
The chimney cap is a device installed on top of the chimney that helps protect the flue from moisture intrusion. Chimney caps with a wire mesh screen keep leaves, twigs, birds, and other debris from clogging the flue pipe. The chimney cap also helps keep the chimney crown dry in inclement weather. When the chimney cap is damaged or blown off in a heavy storm, water, small animals, and debris can infiltrate the chimney. Your chimney is also vulnerable to masonry damage, damper corrosion, and even a dangerous flue obstruction. Immediately replace a damaged or missing chimney cap as soon as possible to protect your chimney.
Cracks in the Chimney Crown
The concrete surface covering the entire masonry structure is the chimney crown. It is a vital chimney component designed to prevent water damage. There are several reasons for cracks appearing on the crown’s surface, such as age, settling, and water damage. When caught early, typically through an annual chimney inspection, minor cracks are easily repaired with a waterproof CrownCoat. However, more extensive damage may require rebuilding the chimney crown.
Flue Liner Deterioration
Many aging chimneys in Columbia, SC, still have the original clay tile liner. Unfortunately, many older liners develop cracks, have missing tiles, and other abnormalities due to normal wear and tear, corrosion, creosote build-up, and water damage. The flue liner is like an insulator that protects the surrounding masonry walls from high temperatures in the fireplace, so it doesn’t transfer to nearby combustible materials. When the flue liner is compromised, it increases the risk of fire and exposure to harmful contaminants, including carbon monoxide. Our HeatShield chimney repair can often fix flue liner damage, saving the cost of chimney relining.
The white staining that some may see sprouting in the spring is efflorescence, the first sign that your masonry absorbs water. When water gets into the porous brick or stone masonry, it draws the salts to the surface, which appear as a white stain when it dries. When this occurs, schedule a chimney inspection with a Certified Chimney Professional®. Without intervention, such as tuckpointing to repair damaged masonry and chimney waterproofing, the brickwork will continue to deteriorate, causing it to crack, flake, and spall.
Cracked or Missing Bricks
The constant exposure to frequent rain year after year can take its toll on the chimney, especially if it doesn’t have annual inspections. When bricks and mortar absorb moisture, it begins to deteriorate, causing bricks to crack, crumble, and spall. It also washes away the mortar leaving gaps in the joints. As the damage worsens, chunks or entire pieces of brick may loosen and fall off the chimney. You will need an expert mason to repair the masonry damage; otherwise, the structure is in danger of a partial or complete collapse.
While damage to the chimney cap, crown, and masonry is often the cause of most chimney leaks, there is another common reason – worn or damaged chimney flashing. Because the signs of flashing damage are water staining on the ceiling or walls, it is often mistaken for a roof leak. However, chimney flashing must be installed properly to prevent failure, which can also cause a leak. So, it’s best to hire a chimney professional when the chimney flashing needs repair or replacement.
Certified Masonry Chimney Repairs in Savannah, GA – Columbia, SC
Advanced Chimney Sweep is your local Certified Chimney Professional® for all masonry chimney repairs in Richmond Hill, GA, Pritchardville, SC, and communities in the Central Savanna River Area (CSRA) and South Carolina Midlands region. Call (706) 833-4630 or (803) 508-3990 to schedule an appointment today! You can also contact a technician by filling out our online form.